Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Choking on silver

In case you wanted more doom and gloom (and talk about the weather, Ael...) here's two related news items laying out in excruciating detail the killing blow awaiting us at the top of the dark ramp ahead.

First, the near-certainty that we are in the process of baking our world to a delicate crunch.

And, second, that we are ensuring that our New Oligarchic Masters will not give a flying fuck about that.
And despite the furious verbal and written smokescreen that the meeching coterie of remoras for the wealthy and powerful will emit, these are related, and unless We the People act decisively and swiftly mean that those of us not insulated by wealth and power are headed for an ugly future.

Simply put, since the advent of the Industrial Revolution we've been transforming our planet not so much to an unprecedented degree but at a hyperkinetic rate. Our average global temperature has both risen and fallen significantly before this, but these were part of the larger global/solar system heat cycles.

What we've done has been, in effect, to add a heat wave to the vast swells of insolation, ocean circulation, carbon sequestration and release that affect the Earth and have pretty much since the damn thing cooled enough to accumulate an atmosphere.

We con't be sure how big this wave is relative to the swells. But we can tell that it's there, and that it has the potential - assuming that the overall global climate isn't dropping back into a glacial period - to drive our planet towards the kind of climate that makes grasslands of forests and deserts of grasslands, raises oceans and otherwise creates some pretty impressive changes in our local flora and fauna.

And the critical factor is that this is happening fast; a couple of hundred years, a flick of geologic time.

Things like our food crops are the products of generations of selective breeding, and our food-producing regions developed of millenia of human history. And the same history shows that when those crops and regional conditions change, as they did for the Sumerians, as they did for the Anasazi, that can get very difficult and deadly for the humans involved. have the wealth and power to insulate you from that change.

If you can move freely about the globe, if you can pay for your own sources of food, of heating and cooling, if you can pay for your own armies to secure those things and to defend you from those who don't have the wealth and power to secure them for themselves, well, then...why should you care?

Why shouldn't you be more interested in your short-term wealth and power? Why should you give a flying fuck what happens, then?

That's one of the huge reasons that oligarchy and plutocracy are bad for everyone outside the oligarchs, plutocrats and their entourage and, eventually, for them, too.

When you put that much wealth and power into the small group that also controls the polity you produce a perfect storm of ignorance and indifference. The aristos don't know how bad it is for the proles and don't care.
We know what the inevitable result is. The ugly mess shambles along until finally some sort of unholy disaster unhinges everything. The society disintgrates into a war of all against all. The usual conclusion is either the ascent of a strongman, a Lenin or a Napoleon, or a descent into anarchy and barbarism as after the fall of Rome.

And for some reason we've managed to construct this meatgrinder and are ramming our collective dicks into it while we worry more about missing airliners and white girls and who's got the inside lane on this season's reality show.

I have absolutely no idea what the fuck to say about this except the dinosaurs had the excuse that their brains were the size of a fucking walnut.


Ael said...

I hear ya chief.

One thing our oligarchs don't get is that wealth is a collective hallucination. You can only own stuff if enough *other* people agree that you own stuff. Thus you need to keep society motoring along well enough so that enough people agree that it is your stuff.

Various oligarchs from Rehoboam to Tsar Alexander have belatedly discovered that much to their dismay.

I'm also very annoyed by this Ukraine thing. We have more important things to do than get diverted by ancient great power games.

I'm sure glad I was born on the Canadian prairie and my kids have a pretty good chance of holding their own if things go extreme local.

Summer is coming.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Pretty much sums it up. Sometimes I think the only reason I don't get rid of my unused knitting needles is to keep open the option of playing Madame Defarge…

All in all, it reminds me of a terribly depressing, misogynistic book by some French bastard -- his character is one of the oligarchs who watches the fall back into something almost fit to be the opening scene of "2001 A Space Odyssey".

Barry said...

Ael: "One thing our oligarchs don't get is that wealth is a collective hallucination. You can only own stuff if enough *other* people agree that you own stuff. Thus you need to keep society motoring along well enough so that enough people agree that it is your stuff."

It's an extremely durable hallucination, and it's served these guy's very, very well.